No Bark Collars: What Are They and Do They Work?
Dogs bark. That is a fact. Some dogs bark incessantly, never stopping unless they are eating or sleeping. That is also a fact.
Some dogs would whine and howl all day while their humans are away. Some would run around the house barking, even with their owners in the house. It does not matter if they get tons of exercise or are continuously plied with treats. They will keep barking at anything.
Maybe you’re one of those people who live in fear of getting another noise complaint from the neighbors or the building superintendent. Or you are just frustrated, tired, and at your wit’s end, not knowing how to get your pet to limit the noise. You are not alone.
Many would recommend going to a professional trainer to control the barking. But that could cost hundreds of dollars. Do you have to resign yourself to the possibility of just giving your beloved pet up?
There is another solution: anti-bark collars.
What Are No Bark Collars?
Anti-bark collars are also known as no-bark collars. These collars are designed to control a dog’s nonstop barking. No bark collars usually work by detecting the vibrations from a dog’s vocal cords. When this happens, a stimulus is given as a warning and a consequence for barking. Used correctly and consistently, it should eventually train your dog to minimize unnecessary noise.
Image: Dogtra YS200 No Bark Collar for Small and Medium Dogs
How Do No Bark Collars Work?
There are many different kinds of anti-bark collars available. They are usually composed of the actual collar (typically made of nylon, like a regular collar) with an attached receiver that releases the stimulation.
There are different stimulation options as well as multiple stim levels. The levels are adjustable depending on how fast the dog can learn. Some collars will keep increasing the levels of stimulation until the dog stops barking completely.
Regardless of what type of collar you decide to get for your pet, they all have to be appropriately used for them to work. It starts with fitting the collar onto your dog’s neck; it has to be snug but not too tight.
The Different Kinds of No Bark Collars
No Bark Collars come in four main variations:
- Static stimulation collar
- Spray collar
- Ultrasonic Collar
- Vibration Only
Static stimulation collars are also known as shock collars. As the name implies, they use low levels of electricity when delivering corrections. The collars come with metal prongs that lie against the dog’s neck. They act as a sensor to monitor for vocal cord vibrations. At the same time, they function to administer the static.
Many models of static stimulation no bark collars begin with the lowest shock levels. The automatic system gradually increases in intensity as the dog continues barking.
Spray bark collars are equipped with microphones to sense the barking. The mic picks up the barking and triggers the collar to emit mist from the collar instead of electricity. Many spray collar models use plant-based citronella spray, like PetSafe’s Elite Big Dog Spray Collar.
Dogs find the scent to be unpleasant and many pet owners swear by citronella-scented sprays to curb the relentless barking. Lemon and unscented sprays are also popular. The collar sends the mist to the dog’s nose and mouth direction to disrupt the unwanted behavior.
Finally, some no-bark collars utilize warning tone, vibration, or even ultrasonic sound to deter nuisance barking. This type of collar emits sound, usually of the high-pitched variety, to stop the dog from barking excessively, and high-performance vibration vibrates to break the behavior.
What is the right no bark collar for your dog?
Unfortunately, only you can answer that question. Different dogs have different needs, so what may work well for one dog may not necessarily produce the same results for another dog.
Regardless of the kind of no bark collar you choose, the end goal is the same. That is to stop nuisance barking. But now the question is, how safe is a no bark collar? Will using a no bark collar hurt your dog? Will the anti-bark collar cause physical, emotional, and psychological damage?
Are No Bark Collars Safe?
“Are bark collars harmful?” is a common question when it comes to these tools. Pet owners usually worry whether bark collars are safe for dogs and puppies. Another common concern is whether using one will add to a dog’s stress and anxiety levels. Will a no bark collar cause more suffering? Let’s address the questions one by one.
1. Are No Bark Collars Harmful?
A no bark collar, like any remote training collar, is never designed to harm dogs. But in all honesty, it will give off a slightly unpleasant sensation. Without that bit of discomfort, dogs are not made aware of the problem and will keep barking freely. The stimulation teaches them that there is a consequence to the unwanted and unnecessary action.
2. Will No Bark Collars Stop All Kinds of Barking?
People make many different sounds. It's the same with dogs. They don't just bark. Beagles, for example, are prone to making baying and howling sounds. Alaskan Malamutes? Big whiners.
Do bark collars work for howling and whining as much as it does for plain, annoying barking?
In this case, it is important to note that it doesn't matter if your dog is making howling, barking, or whining sounds. If they are not in pain, the reason is most likely one of these:
- They need attention.
- They need something.
- They are stressed or anxious.
- They are bored.
The same is echoed by Katherine A. Houpt, V.M.D., Animal Behavior Clinic Director at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She has stated that dogs bark incessantly for two reasons:
- Learned, attention-seeking behavior
For all the above cases, the sounds they’re making are a response to the situation. One way to fix the issue is to change the response. Behavior modification is needed to manage the non-stop barking. Unfortunately, many pet owners are not there when the barking happens, so no bark collars become a viable option. Using a bark collar is one way to do consistent and constant counterconditioning.
But how come your bark collar is not working for your dog?
Bark collars like the Dogtra YS200 or the SportDOG SBC-R work by detecting actual barking. The collars are sensitive to the growls and vibrations in the vocal cords generated by barks. Therefore, they may not be the best solution for whining or howling.
3. Will You End Up with an Unnaturally Quiet Dog?
This is where the pet owner must exercise due diligence. Some dogs are more sensitive than others. Talk to your vet so you can choose the best collar for your dog. With the right collar and proper training methods, the no bark collar should not deter the dog from barking. It will only stop them from barking relentlessly, and remember to never keep the collar on for more than eight hours on your dog.
4. Do Bark Collars Work for Separation Anxiety?
Anxiety in dogs is not merely due to separation, although it can be a reason. Dogs that were previously abused can suffer from anxiety. But even being around strangers or simply hearing loud noises can trigger it.
Incessant barking, whining, or howling are just some ways your dog is reacting to their feelings. While using a bark collar can prove helpful in stopping the constant barking, you may find that your dog will find another way to release his pent-up fears. This could result in more destructive tendencies and other behavioral problems.
The best way to handle canine separation anxiety is to first address the cause by understanding the trigger for your dog to initiate barking.
Dogs are dogs. They will bark. But non stop barking is not only annoying to the pet owner, but it's also unhealthy for the dog. A no bark collar, while not being able to address whining, howling or anxiety is still a viable alternative to stopping unwanted behavior. It will automatically work without you having to interfere. In just a few days you will see the results and hopefully give both human and pet a more quiet, peaceful, and happy existence.